Scanning Documents with Bar Codes
|What is a bar code and how can I use it for
|A bar code like the one shown at the right is use to either identify
information on the document, or the bar code can be used to SEPARATE the
document, or a batch of documents, or both.
documents with bar codes
|To use the most common example, lets say you have two
documents you wish to scan. The first document is 5 pages long, and the
second one is 10 pages long. You want to be able to "stack" all 15 pages
on the scanner's ADF and scan these into two separate documents. An
ADF is the Automatic Document Feeder on the scanner.
Some scanner softwares will not separate the documents into two.
You will end up with a 15 page document (file). Some document
scanning softwares will allow you to use a blank page as a separator, which
means that when a "front side" blank page is detected, the scanner will automatically
start a new document. Other softwares may require a special page of
their own design to be used to "separate" two documents.
An easier solution is to use a bar code page as a separator. This
page has a bar code identifier located in the SAME location.
There are two ways to read a bar code separator:
- Software- the software reviews the image, looking in a particular
area for the bar code, if the software finds the bar code, then the
software interprets its code and reacts appropriately .
- Hardware- the hardware reviews the image, looks for the bar code and
|Which one do I use ??
|If you purchased a scanner that cannot read barcodes (this
comes from the factory), then you can purchase Kofax VRS Profession
scanning software, which will interpret the bar code data.
you purchased a scanner that can read bar codes, then you must have a
software that can interpret the bar code information that is sent by the
scanner. Most scanners that come with a bar code reader can
interpret the bar code data. Kodak
scanner software is very bar code oriented.
|Why should I use bar codes??
|Very simply, time is money.
If you have a dozen different documents that are of various numbers of
pages in length and mixed simplex and duplex:
Without a bar code separator, you must load each document into the
scanner, and start and stop the scanner when finished with that document,
save the file, then start over again.
With a bar code separator sheet, you place a sheet in between
each document, load the ADF with a stack of documents and start scanning.
If you place new documents at the back of the ADF so the ADF doesn't run
out of documents to scan, you can scan continuously all day.
Bar codes can also signify a new batch too. If you are scanning
invoices, then mix in delivery sheets, you can start a new batch
without stopping the scanner, then all the invoices are in one directory,
and the delivery sheets are in another. You can mix bar codes, since you
tell the software what to do when it reads a code.
The time that is spent placing the bar code sheet between documents is
less than the time it takes to stop start and reload each new document.
ALL scanning service bureaus use bar code sheets.
Bar code sheets are reusable, some companies laminate them, then
use a grease pencil to mark where the paper document must be hand filed
(drawer aa-ag) after it has been scanned.
|Advanced bar code scanning
|Since this is a much more technical subject, I will
just cover the basics.
As you understand the above references to bar codes as they are used
for separation, you can also use the bar codes to identify a
document. You can "encode" the bars with information about the
document. IE a bar code can contain a number like
123456. This number is passed to the software which can look up 123456 in
a database to find out that the number references a can of beans which
costs $0.99. Or, it represents an invoice from vendor "ABC Supply",
so the name, address and phone number are not needed to be keyed from hand
for that document, only the invoice number would be needed.
Color bar codes can handle even more data. These new bar codes
can hold many fields of information: vendor number, invoice number,
invoice amount, date, date due, etc.
There are many bar code "printing" software's available on the Internet, even fonts that are actual bar code symbols. Companies can encode
any data they need in the bar codes. A bar code software can
usually read many different bar codes from the same sheet of paper.
|When would I use Patch Codes for
document scanning ??
|Patch codes are nothing more than bar codes that change
the scanner settings, but they are an integral part of efficient scanning.
If you have a stack of single sided documents, followed by double sided
documents (or mixed), a patch code inserted in between the documents can change the
scanner from simplex to duplex scanning mode (and then back).
Scanning in simplex mode is always faster, so time is saved. A scanner
slows down when it has to determine if the back side of the page is blank
or not, to keep the blank image or not. Stopping the scanner, changing the
settings, and starting again is time consuming and not cost effective.
Not all bar code software can read patch code, a scanner and
software that can do both is a little more expensive, but will pay for
itself in a very short period of time.
|Which scanner has these features??
|The Kodak i1100 series (and higher) scanners
come with a free desktop version of
their bar code software. If you purchase one of these models, then
upgrade to the Capture Pro version you can read
multiple bar codes and patch codes. The desktop version only reads
one bar code,and will not save or rename a file from the name of the bar
code. The software cost is
easily recovered in production time savings. Also, this is a one
time charge, you can scan an unlimited number of documents with the Kodak
|How can I make a
bar code document separator sheet?
|It's really very simple.
Go to a free font download
website. Download the font that says "code3of9"
This is the most common
bar code format that all bar code reading software will read. It's been
around since the 1960's unix mainframes.
Next, put the font file
in your windows Fonts directory.
Then, open a spreadsheet program
like microsoft excel.
Change your "view" to page layout so you can see
Go to cell G7 and type "Separator" or what ever you
want to use to tell the software to start a new document when it reads
those charactoers in a barcode.
I suggest typing the same word in
again in cell H8.
Go back to cell G7 and highlight the text you
entered.Then go to the font dropdown list and change the font to the new
code3of9 font. You will now see only the "bar code" version of the text
ONE MORE THING...you have to change the size of the font
so that it can easily be read by the software. We use the 36 point font.
Highlight the bar code and change the font size to 36.
leave the text in the H8 cell alone. It just tells you what the bar code
above says "in plain english".
Save the spreadsheet and you can
then print as many bar code separator sheets as you need. You can print
one and make copies, but make sure you use a nice copier or the bar codes
will not be clear enough to be read by the software. We here at ScanTastik
print our bar codes on different light colored sheets of paper so that we
can spot them easily when we are separating and reassembling the documents
after scanning a "batch".